The South Island of New Zealand is home to some of the country’s most rugged scenery and active experiences. Scenic glacial fjords and dramatic alpine peaks provide a backdrop from which to enjoy a wide array of adventures, including trekking, skiing, jet-boating and even bungee-jumping. Those seeking a more relaxed escape will also find no shortage of intriguing arts and architecture, history, culture, cuisine and therapeutic endeavors to enjoy.
Natural wonders are abundant on the South Island and popular wildlife activities include whale-watching, swimming with dolphins and trekking along alpine trails. For those intent on enjoying more artistic and creative pursuits, Christchurch’s famed Arts Center and Nelson’s community of artists and craftspeople are among the most popular destinations. From rugged alpine coasts to charming villages; from adrenaline-charged adventure to world-class wine tasting, the South Island offers a diverse range of enjoyment for any traveler.
As the cultural and architectural capital of the South Island, Christchurch is known as New Zealand’s Garden City for its many parks, botanical gardens and lovely natural landscape. As the gateway to the South Island, the city’s compact design ensures easy discovery of the area’s sites, history and heritage, and serves as an ideal base from which to explore the volcanic harbor at Akaroa or the town of Kaikoura for whale watching.
At 12,313 feet, Mt. Cook is New Zealand’s highest peak and together with twenty seven other peaks above 10,000 feet, constitutes New Zealand’s famous Southern Alps which provide a scenic backbone along the South Island. In addition to its numerous scenic walks and rugged hikes, Mt. Cook also plays host to a range of activities such as 4WD safaris, horse treks and scenic alpine flights with dramatic snow landings.